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Sunday, August 24 2014 16:39

Review: STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE Sweet Beats Stage Playset

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You probably wouldn't be inclined to immediately pair STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE with THE ROCK FATHER, but this 37-year-old Dad has a long history with those deliciously-scented characters from American Greetings - a history that dates back well into the early 1980s. Indeed, I had the little Kenner figurine of Huckleberry Pie from the old "Strawberryland Miniatures" collection that Hasbro used to make (I wrote about him once before, here), and after playing with Strawberry and the gang for many years with my little sister, enjoying that world with my own daughters has been an easy thing to do. We've seen the show on the Hub Network, and own some of the DVDs from Fox, and now we've reached the point of getting into the toys as well, and not only do they still smell great - they rock, too!

For Fall 2014 comes an all-new collection of dolls/figures, playsets and accessories from The Bridge Direct, sweet-scented and ready for adventure in Berry Bitty City. By day, Strawberry Shortcake runs the Berry Cafe, but by night she fronts The Sweet Beats, a band in which she (on guitar/vocals) is joined by Cherry Jam (Guitar), Raspberry Torte (Keyboards), Plum Pudding (Drums), and Lemon Merengue (Bass). Not long ago, we received the Sweet Beats Stage playset with Strawberry Shortcake and Cherry Jam, ready for review here on our State-of-the-Art Toy Testing Facility (our house).

Right out of the box, the scent is still irresistible - slightly different than the figures we had as kids (if you smelled the originals, you know it!) - but still delightful to all. The figures/dolls themselves are detailed and follow very closely the look of the last television series, BERRY BITTY ADVENTURES, with both Strawberry and Cherry getting some additional rocked-up accents to their hair (the fronts are very styled and cut) with some cool streaks and such. 

shortcakesunkist

Removable clothing and shoes makes for some fun mix-and-matching, and the stage itself plays a couple of songs along with other audio clips. The front performance area fits the dolls well, well the reverse side of the set doubles as a "backstage area."

Rock Father-Approved!From the perspective of myself - a stickler for quality and detail along with functional design, the dolls are fantastic, and the stage is good - though there's a habit that toy designers have when making "stage" sets (we've owned a few over the years) to put flags or banners on the side - usually thin cardboard or plastic sheets attached by fragile holders... and this is no exception. While the banners are cute, they are easily knocked off and unnecessary. From the kid perspective, this set is a home-run all the way around, and having already been a fan of the show and movies, my girls have made sure that Strawberry and Cherry have seamlessly become residents of their growing world of dolls and action figures.

Rock Father-approved!
James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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